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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Magical Fingers - Billiard Ball Vanishes (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Intrepid
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Been studying the beautiful and refined hand gestures of some of the masters of billiard ball manipulation hoping to take in some of their grace. One that has been particularly challenging for me to carry off naturally and smoothly is the basic gesture of vanishing a ball in the hand by simply rubbing the thumb and fingers of the left (or right) hand together until the ball appears to have disintegrated into nothingness. That momentary flash of choreographed finger moment that punctuates a magical moment right before the eyes of the audience. Watching the gestures of the pros in slow motion is proving enormously helpful, as is the general advice of a friend to "slow down and smooth out" my movements.

A search of the Café turned up this little gem, the practice of visualizing the magic happening in your mind first. Sage advice, and I'm also wondering if there are more words of wisdom on this subject hiding out there, such as theories on timing, rhythm, movement, etc. and other considerations on the topic of magical gestures in general.

Regards,
Bob
Bob
Anatole
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A few suggestions:
1) The "Rule of Threes" might help. Toss the ball back and forth from right hand to left hand twice, making the pass on the third toss. The mind will remember seeing the ball really in the hand twice and will be inclined to "see" the ball there the third time as well.
2) The principle of "simulation" is important. Do not close the left hand into a tight fist. Henry Hay writes on page 181 of _The Amateur Magician's Handbook_:
-----quote-----
Simulation has in magic the special additional meaning of acting as if an object were present when it is not. Young manipulators, particularly of billiard balls, often fall down here. They make a
smooth and beautiful palm, and then close the other fist down to a size that wouldn't house a marble.

Silent Mora was one of the few magicians who possessed what I earlier described as slow-motion-camera perfection. He handled billiard balls like quicksilver. And the great point about his sleights was the simulation. He knew that when you grasp a billiard ball you can't get your fist all the way shut.
-----end quote-----

The tossing back and forth a few times works for me. Mike Gallo commented that when he saw me vanish a billiard ball, it was as strong and convincing as the retention-of-vision vanish of a coin.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Alexander Wells
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In many ways magic, especially manipulation, is mime but with props in your hands. For good simulation, practice actually moving, putting, taking the object, then practice with no props at all. Just miming the moves.
In this way you can come up with magical movements while unencumbered by the problem of dealing with the props.

Once you've figured out how you want it to look, try again but this time do the sleights with the props in the hands.
Intrepid
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Anatole and Neal, good tips. The transition from practicing isolated sleights to trying to stringing a billiard ball routine together is proving to be a wonderful learning experience in showmanship. I question and try to choreograph every detail from feet placement and eye contact, to rhythm and dramatic pauses. To this end the unfiltered eye of the camera has been both humbling and most helpful as a practice aid. Where my mind says fluid and natural, the camera shakes it's head and says not even close, try again. It even points out my beer belly. Thank god for the delete button. Lol.

The magic gesture, as noted in the earlier post, is one of those area that was lacking it's magic. As a further illustration let's assume that the deception has already taken place (via a French drop or Anatole's tossing ploy) and the attention is now on the cupped left hand. And let's further assume that this is the first vanish of a billiard ball routine. This is the climatic few seconds before the reveal. The feet are brought together, a deep breath taken and we freeze all other motion as our attention focuses on the left hand. We image the ball is there and that we feel it's weight. We concentrate on the imaginary ball and through the will of our imagination, poof, it is no more. To the audience the act of vanishing the ball from the left hand is told in that instant through a dramatic flick of the fingers. And when performed right, with a roll of the fingers and a dramatic flick, is breathtakingly beautiful.

In contrast, a closer description of my gesture would of been that of squeezing play-doh and flicking flies. Not exactly magical looking, but it is getting better as I work on it.

Appreciate all the words of wisdom.

Bob
Bob
Vogler
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The most amazing billiard ball vanish I have ever seen, at 56 sec:
http://youtu.be/EU9bo56GcjQ
Intrepid
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Yes! That's it. The reveal is clean, sharp, natural, and well timed.

It's like learning to play music, where subtle timing issues are the difference between a beautiful performance and one that hurts the ears.
Bob
Intrepid
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FYI, the gesture starting at 22 sec of Pier Cartier's act where he reveals that the cigarette has vanished by first rubbing his thumb and fingers together, then turning the palm to the audience and showing the hand empty is very close to the gesture I was trying to accomplish with my opening billiard ball vanish.
http://youtu.be/byZmP4y6m2I

As an alternative,Denny Haney showed me a tongue in cheek way of showing the vanish that is better suited to my clumsy hands. At least until I get better at this.

Bob
Bob
Intrepid
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I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with Shoot Ogawa while he was in town this week. Over lunch he generously brokedown for me how he mimes the vanish of a coin before a spectator. Where my fingers were miming two motions, a squeeze of a ball followed by an opening of the fingers, his coin example mimed four distinct movements. It was a real ah ha moment.

Bob
Bob
Alexander Wells
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...and what were those motions Intrepid? Smile
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Wow Julian tjat was an amazing demonstration of dexterity
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